Hold Up, Is It Illegal In Iowa For Gift Cards to Expire?
Here comes the holiday shopping season. As you venture out into the few remaining brick-and-mortar stores that may have what you're looking for, you may notice fewer supply chain issues than last year but might also re-discover a simpler approach is to buy a gift card. But how long can you use them?
More often than not, many come without expiration dates, meaning they're valid indefinitely. But read on.
The Iowa Attorney General's office says gift cards can expire
In Iowa, online or in-person gift cards legally can have an expiration date, but you should have quite a bit of time to use them. Gift cards issued in Iowa cannot expire for at least five years, which means they can also technically be issued to be valid forever.
But KCRG uncovered some businesses that have found a workaround. They may issue the card for less than five years, but still have to honor it for that length of time. Why? They do it to get people in their store.
The Iowa Attorney General's office says this workaround is pretty common so before you panic, talk with the retailer to make sure they will offer you more time to use it "in good faith"
Still, it's a good idea to use the gift card as soon as possible
It's not just beneficial to the support of local businesses, which is a good thing. What if that business, unfortunately, goes out of business before the expiration date of the card? Sadly, a very common thing. Try to get a gift receipt from the giver in case you physically lose the card and need a replacement. Before giving or receiving the card, make sure it hasn't been "tampered" with. For example, that little greyed-out sticker on the back of the card? Behind that is a PIN when it's scratched off, and if you get it with that sticker already scratched off, you can tell it's been messed with.
You can read more about Iowa's "rules" for gift cards here.